Vidaguerrilla responds to some questions from Major Destroyer about his musical and artistic influences, working in relative isolation in his rehearsal hole "the Sump", and ancient nature worship music fueled by alcohol. I think a trip to Spain is in order!
Who is Vidaguerrilla?
I'm a loner guy, detached from my community. It would makes sense that i'd play Black Metal, but i'm more influenced by obscure rock'n'roll bands, some philosophical sects, Kerouac, Bukowski.
How long have you been going by this alias and is there any significance behind it?
Two years now. The meaning is: my life is really a guerrilla warfare and not becoming easier. Scratching euros here and there to keep it going on.
What is the music scene like in and around Malaga, and Spain as a whole?
In Málaga it's more of a tribute-cover band landscape. Some acts have dignity but most are presumptuous loads o'shit. I love the “old craft” of being a tavern musician. I've been one myself for years. But talking of creativity, there is not much around...even bands that pretend to be creative, are only copying English or American bands. Too many pretending they are “smart rockers”. The lack of creativeness can be applied to the rest of the country. The scenes are very small and feeble. Around big or college cities mainly. Commercial radios are shit. Public radio is rather controlled by the “political commissars” and the bands they broadcast are bland, lame. Not real public radio. Not real democracy around here. No music T.V. shows in the main channels and commercial music in the cable channels.
How is metal and other outsider music perceived there?
It's quite ironic. There is something like an “official” underground scene that gets reviews in some specialized media. Those bands do expensive releases through their own labels and play little tours maybe once in the year. With much luck, some bigger gigs in Europe like Roadburn festival or similar. They have a little good following, but not enough to keep it going on. So they work day jobs, cover bands and what not. The perception is none: they are way under the radar here, only known to the people in the scene.
Are there any local musicians or artists that have been an influence on you?
Yeah, back in my teens, the “grunge years”, i loved a local band that played “Hard to handle”, “She's in love with my automobile” and other standards. And an obscure capital band that played some post punk-dark shit like an aggressive cover of “Surfin' USA” are among my beloved memories. Both bands are long gone now.
How do your physical surroundings (geographical and cultural) influence your music and art direction?
Yea, i'm a mountain man. I live in a valley surrounded by hills and mountains. We've got here a folk music that's called Verdiales, that you can trace down to the Romans. It can be heavy stuff if you're loaded. Imagine some Grindcore played by drunken folks with Spanish guitars, fiddles and big tambourines. It has to do with farmer's celebrations and nature cycles and loads of sweet raisin wine...plus heavy sun in the head. On the other hand, you need to escape the oppressive “yokel” one-thought that rule here, always mixed with a fake religious influence. So there it be noise!
What possessed you to begin playing and recording music?
Satan? I ask myself that sometimes. I wanted to produce a sound that punch people in the mouth and chest.
What is your preferred recording method (4 track cassette recording/digital/etc)?
Cheapo dynamic mics to an old 4 track recorder that someone forgot in my rehearsal hole years ago.
Give us some insight into your artistic process, from conceptualization all the way to final product.
I love to deconstruct and de-concept the “creator job”. There are too many artists that love explaining themselves over doing new songs or artifacts. Although, yes, i have some crazy ideas (like maybe, pick some Minor Threat and throw it with some Loop smoking a fatty with Kyuss) or imagine how the albums of RL Burnside with Jon Spencer would have sounded with Iggy Pop and Ron Asheton.
I do the recordings to bring my crazy ideas into “the real”: Do the riffs. Record them. Sit down in the drum set with the 4-track and phones. Record the drums to the guitar riffs (or the opposite way too). Always down-tuned guitars. I use cheapo jap guitars overall. I did the 7” recordings with an old 70's Hondo SG. And Fuzz, anything filthy and with sustain. Some echo or delays. Wah sometimes. Voice through the 4-track preamp, almost in the red and with more echo. Then, mastering with a computer and “pirate” software (a copy a friend gave years ago). Three-four tracks per song. Some compression (not much indeed, the main level is set when recording), some equalization and Vidaguerrilla's done.
Do you prefer to work solo?
I'd love to have partners in crime, but the people i meet is too pussy.
Have you collaborated with other musicians in the past?
Yes, and i keep trying to trick some fools over coming to the Sump (the name of my rehearsal hole) and be obliterated. Some fall on the snare from time to time.
What passions outside of music do you peruse?
I love general DIY, i just can't take the commercial crap. Reuse old crap, give it more life, fuck the programmed obsolescence. Do my own guitar effects. Customize my guitars. Going into the wild; i'm currently learning about permaculture, edible wild plants and home building with natural materials. Loads of readings too: DIY, economics, Buddhism, ancient times, Thoreau, esoterism, etc. Listening to albums of unknown bands.
Are there any particular bands or artists that you have been digging lately?
Hey! Have you checked these Hands I Annul Yours guys? They are a slam in the face, a retro-futurist tearoom band that make you feel like on pot & meth. Besides, i'm following an Italian guy, Roberto Luti. He's a hell of a blues guitar player. Old style, wandering musician, no bland shit. Talking of good blues: Cannibal Ramblers, killers. Killers. KILLERS. I'd transfer to America right now to play with them. But i currently dig more “old stuff”: learning of Chaley Patton, John Fahey, 70's Spanish rock band Lone Star, basque folk great ones Maurizia, León eta Basilio...
We (Major Destroyer) hand picked and arranged what we perceived as a snapshot into the vast world of Vidaguerrilla for our latest 7 inch release. What are your thoughts on our selections for this project?
The beast had to be released. And which better ones than a label named Major Destroyer? It fits right in. The 7” is a good snapshot yeah, it covers some of my “Japanese era”, some of my “Kerouac meets Fu Manchu” era and some my “drone era” hahahahaha.
What is the future looking like for Vidaguerrilla? Do you have any projects in the works?
It looks shady for sure, but isn't that the true spirit? I'm working out some tunes for live shows, alone or with anyone that shows up. In the recording front, i'm “building the concept” for a new album...for now, i can say it's music for zombies to dance on a Friday night.
Do you have a specific mission in mind?
Do more songs, more shows, reach new places, have another bottle, drive to the next city. But don't drink and drive, don't be an asshole!
Feel free to throw in any closing words...
Thank you mates, you're the best charas. I love to talk shit with equals, here's my contact: firstname.lastname@example.org